Monday, October 8, 2012
Big 12 power rankings: Week 7
By David Ubben
Very interesting weekend across the Big 12 that necessitates some major moves in the power rankings. We've got a new No. 1, and the bottom looks a lot different, too. None of the top four teams in the league are in the same spot they were last week.
1. West Virginia (5-0, 2-0, last week: 2) West Virginia reclaims the No. 1 spot by logging one of the biggest road wins in school history, and the best win of any team in the Big 12 this season. Geno Smith got knocked around a little, but Andrew Buie took over late with 207 yards (63 on seven carries on the final drive) and two touchdowns. WVU and K-State are basically the league co-favorites at this point.
2. Kansas State (5-0, 2-0, last week: 1) Kansas State pasted its rival by 40 points and still dropped in the power rankings. That's how tight it is at the top. K-State looked good and travels to Ames this week in a matchup of similar styles. The Wildcats proved themselves as Big 12 contenders in the win against Oklahoma, but the trip to Morgantown next week looms large.
3. Oklahoma (3-1, 1-1, last week: 4) Just how good can Oklahoma be? The Sooners gave a pretty good idea in a dominant win over Texas Tech on the road on Saturday. The Sooners have won two consecutive Red Rivers, but unlike last year's matchup of undefeated teams, both Big 12 powers have already suffered a loss.
4. Texas (4-1, 1-1, last week: 3) Texas looked good in a loss to West Virginia, making the Mountaineers work for the win, but the Horns couldn't make the plays late on defense to get over the top. Oklahoma awaits in Dallas this week, but Texas' offense will get its toughest test of the season.
5. Baylor (3-1, 0-1, last week: 6) Baylor's knocking on the door of Big 12 contention, but it's never a good sign when the strongest piece of your résumé is your lone loss. The Bears have looked solid, and get to host a limping TCU team on Saturday. This year's game should look quite a bit different than the 2011 edition.
6. Oklahoma State (2-2, 0-1, last week: 8) Oklahoma State's record is modest, but the Cowboys went toe-to-toe with Texas before taking last week off. I've got a lot of faith that the Pokes are better than their record, but with a road trip to Kansas ahead, next week won't tell us much about whether it's true.
7. Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1, last week: 7) Texas Tech got blasted by the Sooners, but I'm keeping the Red Raiders here based on last week's clear head-to-head result against Iowa State. The Cyclones haven't played anyone the caliber of the Sooners yet. Tech gets a shot at another Big 12 elite member next week when West Virginia makes its first trip to West Texas. The Red Raiders' surroundings might give the Mountaineers a little topographical culture shock.
8. Iowa State (4-1, 1-1, last week: 9) Iowa State logged a big road win over No. 15 TCU, knocking the Frogs out of the poll. The Cyclones clearly looked like the better team, and their defense has come to play this year. It's too early to know for sure yet, but Iowa State's defense is on the short list of the Big 12's best.
9. TCU (4-1, 1-1, last week: 5) TCU's offense looked lost without Casey Pachall, and if he was watching on Saturday, it had to have been painful. Coach Gary Patterson decided later in the week that Pachall's presence on the sideline could prove to be too much of a distraction, so he reneged on his earlier insistence that Pachall would dress out for the game and watch his teammates fight while he could do nothing. Still, Pachall proved to be the most massive loss of the 20-plus players who have gone missing since the end of last season. TCU has other problems besides quarterback, but Pachall's absence hurts the most.
10. Kansas (1-4, 0-2, last week: 10) Kansas played a great first half against K-State, but when Charlie Weis is pulling out the fakes early (two on one drive), you know Bill Snyder had to be smiling. K-State rolled in the second half and outscored the Jayhawks 49-2 after KU took an early 14-7 lead.